Rapper/composer Guru (real name Keith Elam) first rose to prominence as the "lyrical half" of the hip-hop duo Gang Starr, one of the first outfits that attempted to fuse jazz with rap. After three albums by Gang Starr hit record store shelves (1989's No More Mr. Nice Guy, 1991's Step in the Arena, and 1992's Daily Operation), Guru launched his own solo career, issuing Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 in 1993. The album featured guest appearances by the likes of Roy Ayers, Donald Byrd, and N'Dea Davenport of the Brand New Heavies, and was followed up two years later by a sophomore solo outing, Jazzmatazz, Vol. 2: The New Reality, which again featured a variety of special guests (including Ramsey Lewis, Branford Marsalis, and members of Jamiroquai).